The number of patients starving on NHS wards has doubled in just two years, according to new figures.
Figures obtained by the Conservatives show the number of serious incidents relating to poor nutritional care has almost doubled.
The number of incidents, reported anonymously, has risen from 15,473 in 2005 to 29,138 in 2007.
Figures also show huge regional variation, with numbers in the North East rising from 389 in 2005 to as many as 1,353 in 2007.
In total almost 70,000 patient incidents relating to nutrition were reported between 2005 and 2007.
The figures were obtained by Shadow Health Minister Stephen O’Brien through a Parliamentary Question and show the number of nutrition-related patient safety incidents reported to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).
The NPSA defines a patient safety incident as ‘any unintended or unexpected incident which could have or did lead to harm for one or more patients receiving NHS care.’
In a Nutritional Screening Structured Investigation Report by the NPSA in 2007 reasons for poor nutritional care included a lack of equipment - in particular weighing scales, poor leadership and a lack of education and training for staff.